The mammalian gastrointestinal tract is the largest organ of the human body beside the skin. It is the organ containing the largest number of immune cells and harbours a large and diverse population of commensal bacteria that exist in a symbiotic relationship with the host. In recent years, it has become increasingly clear that the composition of this gastrointestinal microbiome and its interaction with the host immune system strongly influences the health of the host.
One disease complex, in which maladaptation in this host microbial dialogue is involved, is inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Here, this maladaptation leads to an aberrant immune response in the gut, resulting in recruitment of various lymphoid and myeloid effector cell populations and inflammation of gut tissue. The exact aetiology of IBD remains uncertain, but it is a multifactorial disease that involves a complex interplay between genetic, environmental, microbial, and immune factors.
Deciphering the complex interplay between both the genetic and environmental factors and the microbiota, is therefore of great biomedical importance. By combining mouse and human T cell immunology, mucosal immunology and animal models of disease as well as clinical specimens, we aim to identify environmental, microbial, and inflammatory drivers that promote maladaptation and gut tissue inflammation. We use a combination of cutting‑edge technologies, high throughput culture methods, cell and organoid cultures, physiological mouse models of colitis and analysis of well‑defined patient cohorts.
We specifically aim to uncover new pathways involved in induction and regulation of tissue‑resident T cells, bacterial interaction and intestinal inflammation that may offer new therapeutic targets in inflammatory diseases such as IBD.
Ahmed N. Hegazy,
I studied medicine both at the Cairo University and Hannover Medical School. I received my medical degree and did my M.D. thesis in the laboratory of Prof. Christoph Klein at Hannover Medical School. Subsequently I obtained my Ph.D. in Immunology and Infection Biology from Humboldt University of Berlin after working with Prof. Andreas Radbruch and Prof. Max Loehning at the German Rheumatism Research Center-Berlin (DRFZ). During my Ph.D., I spent 2 years at the laboratory of Prof. Hans Hengartner and Rolf Zinkernagel at the University of Zurich and ETH-Zurich, Switzerland. After my Ph.D., I continued my clinical training in the Department of Gastroenterology, Charité–University Medicine Berlin. I then did my postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Prof. Fiona Powrie at the Translational Gastroenterology, and Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, University of Oxford. My postdoctoral training was supported by an EMBO postdoctoral fellowship and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research fellowship.
I am being trained to become a Gastroenterologist and alongside I am perusing a Clinician Scientist career. My lab is located at the Department of Gastroenterology, Charité-University Medicine, and German Rheumatism Research Center (DRFZ), in Berlin. A Lichtenberg Professorship Grant from Volkswagen foundation as well as a grant from the German Research Foundation (DFG) currently fund my research group.
My research interests are T cell differentiation and plasticity, T cell memory development and maintenance, microbiota-specific T cell responses and cytokines.